Take a gulp of these wine statistics

Have you been drinking more wine – or drinking more in general – since the Covid-19 pandemic drove most of the world into isolated living almost a year ago?

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I’m not calling for a show of hands here, but I’ll say this for sure: I certainly wouldn’t blame anyone for pouring an extra glug or two into your wine glass – within reason, of course – during these troubled times.

Digging through a bunch of fascinating wine statistics recently, however, I couldn’t help noticing that my home state – normally better known for Bourbon consumption than wine – has been doing way more than its share during the recent unpleasantness.

According to a chart prepared by content marketer Fixture Media for Firstleaf, a U.S. wine club, Kentucky marked a 26.3% increase in per capita wine sales in March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, compared to the average of the three prior months of March.

Firstleaf 2020 Wine Statistics

Firstleaf 2020 Wine Statistics

That increase stood out clearly on a chart that showed 11 other states marking increases that ranged from just 0.1% in Massachusetts to 16.3% in runner-up Virginia.

Why did Kentucky leap into such a commanding lead in the wine-buying sweepstakes? I give much of the credit to a series of moves made by the state legislature at the beginning of the pandemic: Legislators, somewhat remarkably in light of past performance, dramatically altered all manner of state alcohol laws.

For the first time, Kentuckians were allowed to buy wine directly from out-of-state providers (subject to the provider acquiring a license that’s frankly not cheap). Just as we locked ourselves into our houses, new laws allowed local wine and liquor shops to deliver directly to our doors. And restaurants, too, were permitted to include a bottle of wine, a growler of beer, or even a tightly sealed cocktail in our food takeout or delivery order. Just at the time when pandemic circumstances made people want a drink, it suddenly became much easier for us to get one.

Viewed in this light, that long, dominating bar alongside “Kentucky” on the accompanying chart suddenly makes a great deal of sense. What I want to know is, how did Colorado and Virginia even came as close as they did?

As interesting as this data point is, at least to inhabitants of the Bluegrass State, there’s a lot more fascinating wine information in the Firstleaf publication 2020 Wine Statistics.

The Wine Statistics report covers stats surrounding wine consumption and production worldwide and in the U.S., particularly during the 2020 pandemic, Sarah Breckon of Fixture Media told me.

Some interesting highlights of their research:

* Off-premise wine sales increased 66% the week of March 21, 2020, and online retail wine sales surged 225% the same month.

* Employment in the wine industry is going strong, with employment at American wineries tripling since 2001.

* Worldwide, the U.S. consumes the most gallons of wine as a country, but Portugal consumes the most gallons per person – almost 13 gallons a year, compared with the rather puny U.S. ranking, only about 2.5 gallons per year, dropping us to 21st place.

* Nationally, California consumes the most gallons of wine, but Idaho and New Hampshire lead the pack in drinking the most wine per person.

If wine numbers fascinate you make yourself at home with the Firstleaf publication, 2020 Wine Statistics.

Want even more wine numbers? The Internet stands ready to serve you. A quick online search will reveal hundreds of sources. Here are a few of my favorites:

California Wine Institute’s Wine Statistics and fact sheets.

U.S. Wine Market – Statistics & Facts from Statista.

Wine Statistics from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

2019 Statistical Report on World Vitiviniculture from the Paris-based International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), which represents 47 member wine-producing countries.


Today’s Sponsor:

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Wine-Searcher.com is the place to go online if you want to find where to buy a particular wine that interests you. What’s more, Wine-Searcher.com offers so much more. It’s well worth a visit just to discover its many features, including its popular list of the world’s Top 10 Best Value Wines.


Today’s Tasting Report

Domaine Pinson Frères 2019 Chablis ($24.99)

Domaine Pinson Chablis

A distinct, pleasant scent of fresh green apples rises from the glass of this clear, light-gold wine, backed by subtler hints of citrus and spice. Fresh apples and citrus and chalky, stony minerality carry over on the palate of a medium-bodied wine that gains complex, interesting flavor as it warms in the glass: Serve it chilled but not ice-cold. Sustainably grown on vines more than 40 years old in Chablis’ sought-after Kimmeridgian soils, it’s fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeast and aged in stainless-steel tanks, focusing flavor on the fruit and fermentation character. Moderate 13% alcohol stays in balance, as you’d expect with Chablis. U.S. importer: Skurnik Wines, NYC. (Feb. 6, 2021)

FOOD MATCH: Fresh oysters on the half-shell are the classic match, and it’s easy to understand why, as a good Chablis brings similar flavor characteristics to the table as a squirt of lemon, but with a lot more complexity and flavor. That said, we were thoroughly happy with a dish of Roman-style bucatini cacio e pepe, with its bold flavors of black pepper and earthy pecorino romano cheese.

WHEN TO DRINK: It’s a delight right now, but it could gain more complexity and subtle flavors with as many as five years aging under good cellar conditions.

Wine-Searcher.com’s $26 average U.S. retail is in the same range as my $25 local price; many merchants offer it for a dollar or two less. It’s a very good value for Chablis at this price.

Here’s a link to importer Skurnik’s fact sheet on Pinson Frères Chablis; to read more about the producer, Pinson, and its 470-year heritage in Chablis, read this Skurnik link.

Check prices and find vendors for Domaine Pinson Frères Chablis on Wine-Searcher.com.

Read about Chablis and page down from there to browse dozens of listings at this Wine-Searcher link.

Join this month’s Wine Focus conversation, Wine 102, The Wines of Chardonnay, in our WineLovers Discussion Group.


More affordable wines

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about during the past year or two. Please tell us about your favorites!

Thirty Second Wine Advisor

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